Experimenting and learning in the Living Lab
12 November 2019
There is collective innovation in the infrastructure industry. The recently opened Living Lab at the SOMA College in Harderwijk is convincing proof of this. We talked to Daniël Stronks, educator at the vocational infra course, and Rutger van der Graaff, manager of Allinq Labs, about the new experimental site for infrastructure professionals: the Living Lab in the Construction & Infra Park in Harderwijk.
Daniël: “Excavation damage occurs when knowledge is missing. That’s why at SOMA we train our pupils and help infrastructure companies to keep their employees informed. This experimental site now allows us to do this in a realistic setting. Rutger and his team help Daniël with the design of the site: “We created a 3D drawing of the actual situation showing good and bad elements. In the last months, we completed the drawing together with a group of experts from the field. The result is a representative area full of gas pipes, electricity, sewage, glass fibre, pop locations, street cabinets and lamp posts. A dynamic location that is continuously being updated. Just like real life. Daniël is pleased with the setting in which he can teach his students: “We can offer future-proof, appealing lessons here. It’s just like real life. After the theoretical part, we go outside and put what we have learned into practice straight away.”
The Living Lab invites others to pioneer new methods to reduce excavation damage. Twente University has already started to use the Living Lab. Daniël: “If a student wants to test something, it’s not feasible for an infrastructure company to have an excavator stand unused. Here, that’s not a problem. For example we have an excavator fitted with sensors that sets off an alarm as soon as the operator comes too close to cables and pipes. In addition, we are working on a ground radar that creates an image of the pipes using a scan rather than excavating. Some very exciting things are happening here.”
High-tech solutions improve our capabilities. For example, we are doing tests with Augmented Reality and smart radars to prevent errors. But if we are unable to share this will people in the field, then we have not met our goal."
Rutger van der Graaff, Manager Innovation & Development at Allinq Labs